When does a mene begin and end?

[Revised 2021-12-30]
The basic subdivision of a game of petanque is a mène, pronounced like the English word “men”. In English, a mène is often called an “end” or a “round”.

In a time-limited game of petanque, we need to have a precise definition of when a mene ends, in order to determine when the two “extra” ends of the game will begin. (See our post on time-limited games.)

Currently (2021) the rule is—

A mene ends when the last boule thrown in the mene stops moving.
At the same instant that the mene ends, the next mene begins.

The Petanque New Zealand umpire’s guide explains the rule this way—

When the time signal is sounded, if all boules of the end have been played and have come to a stop… that end has finished (regardless of measuring and deciding points) and you have officially started the new end.


The 2020 CEP rules for timed, Swiss system games say—

A new end is considered to have started as soon as the last boule from the previous end has been played (not when the jack has been thrown).


Article 33 of the 2020 version of the FIPJP rules of petanque says—

The first end of a game is considered as having started as soon as the jack has been thrown… The following ends are considered to have started as soon as the last boule from the previous end has stopped.

It’s worth noting that there are two ways in which a boule can “stop moving”. It can come to rest (become motionless) while it is still alive and on the terrain. And it can cross a dead-ball line and become dead. (It doesn’t matter how long the boule continues to roll after it has crossed the dead-ball line. Once the boule has completely crossed the dead-ball line, it has “stopped moving”.)

It’s also worth noting that a mene does not end when the jack dies. Even if the jack is hit out-of-bounds and crosses the dead-ball line, the mene doesn’t end until the thrown boule stops moving.

How this rule evolved

Before the 2020 rules changes, the FIPJP rules of petanque used two different models of when menes begin and end. Not surprisingly, players were confused and one FAQ was “When does a mene begin and end?”

I call the two models the FIPJP Rules model and the Time-Limited Games model. It is easy to see the difference if we draw a picture.

The FIPJP rules used a model in which a mene ended with the agreement of points, and the next mene started with the throw of the jack. Between the agreement of points and the throw of the jack, there was a break — a period of time between the menes.

Competition organizers used a model for time-limited games in which a specific event marked the end of one mene and the start of the next. For several years CEP and Eurocup used the agreement of points as the specific event, but that was not precise enough. The CEP/Eurocup rule was changed (and remains)— “A new end is considered to have started as soon as the last boule from the previous end has been played.”

The FIPJP rules continued to use both of the two models until the FIPJP rules were revised in 2020. At that time, the FIPJP rules adopted the time-limited games model for all games, both normal and time-limited. Now the FIPJP rule is the one that I quoted at the top of this post.

The first end of a game is considered as having started as soon as the jack has been thrown… The following ends are considered to have started as soon as the last boule from the previous end has stopped.


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